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AHEAD Working Papers Series

N° 01/2015

Woode, M. E. and Abu-Zaineh, M. (2015). A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Disparities in Early Childhood Deprivation. AHEAD Working Paper No. 01/2015.


The causes and effect of this phenomenon differ from those of adult deprivation and poverty. This paper presents the results of an empirical investigation into early childhood deprivation in four Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries and discusses policies needed to reduce deprivation and poverty. The “poverty as a capability-deprivation” approach, put forth by Amartya Sen and recently applied in studies using the Alkire-Foster approach, is adopted and merged here with the operationalization of the capability approach using item factor analysis (IFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM). This study uses the 2001 to 2004 Pan Arab Family Health (PAPFAM) Survey data and focuses on three dimensions of early childhood capability namely, nutrition, sanitation and information. Children between the ages of 0 and 4 years old constitute the focus of the present study. Results of the multi-group IFA show that females appear to be more capability deprived in some countries while in others the inverse appears to be the case. The deprivation intensity also varies from one country to another. The SEM shows that parental education and the location of the household (rural/urban) affects achievements.